Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Snow Elemental for GURPS

A Snow Elemental for GURPS


Shapithui is a voxel-based monster of size SM +3. It is a lich-form wraith which manifest itself as a 50 cubic yard animated entity of snow and ice. It isn't bound to specific snow/ice, but cannot exists in a smaller volume. Once a given cubic yard is possessed, Shapithui can use it to move like an amoeba: remove a block from somewhere and grow it back somewhere else. Shapithui's main strategy is to trap and smother its foes under pillars or walls of ice.

Shapithui's heart is one block (1 cubic yard) in which the tribal totem of the elders of Mulkan was inserted centuries ago. This allows elder Tiani to communicate with Shapithui as a fellow tribe member. Tiani's grip on Shapithui is not as good as the lore claims: the demon considers the Southron Stones to be his own, but cannot harm the Lossoths of his own tribe and thus must let them keep the stones for the time being. Shapithui is immortal, he is a patient demon.

An account of this snow elemental is found here. The PCs ended up fighting the demons as wraiths, which wasn't exactly planned when I designed the creature. 


ST 18, DX 10, IQ 8, HT 10, FP:- HP: special, Per:8, Will:10, SM+3, Move:(7, amoebic)
Traits: Unliving, Homogeneous, Controled by Magic, blind (Perceive auras at +4), 

Made of 50 blocks: 49 X HP39 1X1X1yd + 1 heart HP 20 DR5(semi-ablative)

Fighting against an Elemental


Shapithui must maintain a connection to the snow/ice pack at all time. He can extend over rocks and pavements, but cannot "disconnect" from the frozen ground. Shapithui can move up to 7 blocks of snow/ice per turn:
  • Release one block and claim a new one from existing snow or ice which is in contact with its own body. This is is main mode of movement where he can snake under the snow or in ice without being seen. Hearing the creaks is an easy (+2) hearing check or a hard (-3) vision check.
  • Absorb one block (remove from board) and grow another one above ground level (add a block). The growth must be in contact with the body, but can either be placed above or to the side of an existing one. The Absorption cab be done from under the feet of opponents.
  • Break away one stack of blocks and pivot it such that the blocks fall to the ground. This counts as a single move, regarless of the size of the stack.


Each block is made of 64lb or snow, ice, rocks, branches and bones scraped from the ground. Each has 32 HP and is considered homogeneous for the purpose of damage multipliers (X 1/2 impaling, etc.).  The damage cause varies with the block's position in the stack. Blocks falling from:
  • 1 yd: 1d-1
  • 2 yds: 1d+1
  • 3 yds: 1d+2
  • 4 yds: 1d+3
  • 5 yds: 2d
  • 6 yds: 2d+1, and so on...
The damage type caused by a falling block depend on the block's content: roll 3d6: 
  • 6 or less : impaling (Ice, bones, branches)
  • 7,8,12,13 : cut (Ice, assorted blade fragments)
  • 9-11: crushing (stones, bulk snow) 
  • 14+: Pi++ (bones, branches)


Once that a player has been slammed into the ground by falling snow by failing a dodge, the character is itself buried under. The character will be disoriented and must succeed a Per-2 check to figure out which way to dig in order to pull out. There is no need to check if the head or at least half of the body isn't buried. As per normal rules, a suffocating character incurs 1FP of damage per second while either the head or chest are buried. 

Breaking free is resolved similarly to a grapple against a ST 13 foe. Add +1 ST per block on top of a character (ST 14 if buried under two blocks). Others may assist if they succeed the a quick contest against the appropriate ST. In all cases, pulling out from Shapithui incurs 1d-2 damage (determine the type as described above). 

Moving over Shapithui

Shapithui growing a pillard to strike the wraiths.
All movement over Shapithui are done in rough footing (-1 to attack, -2 to defend), which may not be such a big deal since all snow and ice environment are already rough footing. Climbing 1 yds during a move action costs 2 MP, or 1 to end-up kneeling (SM0, SM1) or Lying down (SM-1). SM2 foe are not significantly affected by a 1 yd step. Standing up while a block is absorbed or grown requires a DX or acrobatic (whichever is better) or end kneeling (lying down on critical fails). 

Attacking Shapithui

Each block has 32 HP of homogeneous material. The elemental doesn't feel pain nor has any organs other than for the heart block. A major wound, causing 15 HP in one blow, expels the spirit from the block and also to all other blocks that depended in the collapsed block to connect to the heart. Discard all these blocks for the rest of the engagement. If there is enough snow or ice to be claimed around, Shapithui will regain these blocks at a rate of 2HP per day (16 days per blocks). If Shapithui is caught on pavement or rock, the loss of block is permanent. 

The company are going after Shapithui's heart.
The Heart is a special block which occurs randomly within the creature. The creature isn't aware of the position of its heart until it is struck and that it can feel pain. The position of the heart will be determined randomly. Seeking the heart is done at Per-3 if a character is actively searching for it and more than 1/2 of the blocks are in LOS to the character. If only 25 blocks are visible, the check is Per-4, 12 blocks mean Per-5, Per-6 for 6 blocks, Per-7 for 3 and Per-8 for 1 blocks only. If a character is not taking a concentrate action, the check is done at a -2 penalty. Finding the heart shouldn't be an easy feat and require a lot of agile footwork. Once a block is found, mark it as such.

The heart of a solid piece of clear ice which can be covered with dirt and snow at its surface. The heart itself has 20 HP and a semi-ablative DR5. Penetrating damage will expose the totem, which can be removed with a quick contest vs ST 13. Further penetrating damage reduces the ST by 1 each time. Shapithui will feel pain if the heart is struck. Suffering shock and attempting to bury its heart for 1 turn before becoming oblivious of its location again. If the heart is destroyed, Shapithui will return to the ground and regroup at the same rate as  described. The heart forming first.

Ripping the totem

Removing the totem from the heart will free the demon to do what he wants. And what he wants is to absorb the masterstone of Amon Sul as its new heart. Devoid of tribal affiliations, Shapithui would certainly enjoy a little retribution against Mulkan before vanishing deep into the frozen wastes of Forodwaith. 

Replacing the totem by shoving another one in its heart will make Shapithui oblivious to the tribe members, but in absence of a controlling elder, Shapithui will proceed on its own free will.

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